United Kingdom Economy - History

United Kingdom Economy - History

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Budget: Income .............. $487 Billion
Expenditure ... $492 Billion

Main Crops: Cereals, oilseed, potatoes, vegetables; cattle, sheep, poultry; fish.Natural Resources: Coal, petroleum, natural gas, tin, limestone, iron ore, salt, clay, chalk, gypsum, lead, silica.

Major Industries: Production machinery including machine tools, electric power equipment, automation equipment, railroad equipment, shipbuilding, aircraft, motor vehicles and parts, electronics and communications equipment, metals, chemicals, coal, petroleum, paper and paper products, food processing, textiles, clothing, and other consumer goods

  • Region: Europe
  • Population: 66 million (2018)
  • Area: 242,500 square kilometres
  • Capital: London
  • Joined Commonwealth: 1926, on founding the British Commonwealth of Nations
  • Commonwealth Youth Index: 2 out of 49 countries

Human rights

In 2018, the Secretariat partnered with the United Kingdom to improve the engagement of member states with the United Nation’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process. The Secretariat and the UK signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen the Commonwealth Small States Office.


The Secretariat is helping heads of colleges and universities in the UK build youth workers’ skills. It has made youth work qualifications available, including a youth work degree, and is supporting short courses.


The Secretariat partnered with the UK to create indicators and tools to measure the contribution of sport and physical education to sustainable development.

Blue Charter

The UK co-champions the Action Group on tackling marine plastic pollution – the Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance (CCOA), with Vanuatu. The UK and Vanuatu have so far rallied 27 member states to join the Action Group.

The UK is also a member of the Coral Reef Protection and Restoration, Mangrove Ecosystems and Livelihoods, Marine Protected Areas, Ocean Acidification and Ocean and Climate Change Action Groups.

Connectivity Agenda

The UK is a member of the Physical, Digital and Regulatory Connectivity clusters of the Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda. The Connectivity Agenda is a platform for countries to exchange best practices and experiences to trade and investment and undertake domestic reform.

Pre-Roman Britain

A major change occurred c. 4000 bce with the introduction of agriculture by Neolithic immigrants from the coasts of western and possibly northwestern Europe. They were pastoralists as well as tillers of the soil. Tools were commonly of flint won by mining, but axes of volcanic rock were also traded by prospectors exploiting distant outcrops. The dead were buried in communal graves of two main kinds: in the west, tombs were built out of stone and concealed under mounds of rubble in the stoneless eastern areas the dead were buried under long barrows (mounds of earth), which normally contained timber structures. Other evidence of religion comes from enclosures (e.g., Windmill Hill, Wiltshire), which are now believed to have been centres of ritual and of seasonal tribal feasting. From them developed, late in the 3rd millennium, more clearly ceremonial ditch-enclosed earthworks known as henge monuments. Some, like Durrington Walls, Wiltshire, are of great size and enclose subsidiary timber circles. British Neolithic culture thus developed its own individuality.

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1 Rostow , , The Process of Economic Growth ( Oxford : Clarendon Press 2d ed. , 1960 ), pp. 302 –3Google Scholar .

2 I do not wish to imply that I agree with Rostow's reasoning about the impact of new industries. As more than one critic has pointed out, economic growth results from rising productivity, not from newness as such.

3 Jenks , L. H. , “ Railroads as an Economic Force in American Development ,” Journal of Economic History , IV , No. 1 (May 1944 ), 1 – 20 CrossRefGoogle Scholar .

U.K. Inflation Rate 1960-2021

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United Kingdom timeline

1914 - Outbreak of World War I. UK enters hostilities against Germany. Gruelling trench warfare in Belgium and France.

1918 - War ends in November with armistice. The number of UK war dead runs to several hundred thousand.

1921 - UK agrees to the foundation of the Irish Free State. Northern Ireland remains part of the UK.

1924 - First UK government led by the Labour party under Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald.

1926 - General Strike arising from coal dispute.

1929 - World stock market crash. Unemployment begins to rise in UK.

1931 - Economic crisis. Millions are unemployed. National Government coalition formed.

1936 - King Edward VIII abdicates over relationship with an American divorcee, Wallis Simpson.

1938 - Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain meets the leader of Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler, in Munich. Chamberlain says he has averted war with Germany.

1939 - Germany invades Poland. UK declares war on Germany.

1940 - Winston Churchill becomes prime minister. British fighter pilots repel German air attacks in the Battle of Britain. London and other cities badly damaged in German bombing raids.

1944 - Allied troops invade France from Britain on D-Day (6th June) and begin to fight their way towards Germany.

1945 - Germany surrenders on 8 May.

Labour leader Clement Atlee is elected prime minister to replace Winston Churchill. The new Labour government introduces the welfare state.

Decolonisation and new responsibilities

1945 - The UK becomes a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

1947 - The former colony India wins independence.

1948 - National Health Service is established.

1949 - The UK becomes a founder member of Nato.

1953 - Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

1956 - UK intervenes in Suez Canal Zone, but withdraws under pressure from the US.

1961 - UK application to join European Economic Community vetoed by French President Charles de Gaulle.

1962 - The Beatles have their first Top 20 hit in the UK with 'Love Me Do'.

1969 - British troops sent to quell unrest in Northern Ireland.

1973 - The UK joins the European Economic Community.

Industry is on a three-day week because of strike by power workers and miners.

1975 - EEC membership is endorsed in a referendum. North Sea oil begins to be pumped ashore.

Conservatives in power

1979 - The Conservative politician Margaret Thatcher becomes prime minister. She begins to introduce free-market policies.

1981 - Thatcher government begins programme of privatisation of state-run industries.

1982 - Argentina invades the Falklands Islands in the South Atlantic. The UK dispatches a task force, which re-takes them.

1983 - High unemployment, unrest in UK inner cities, continuing violence in Northern Ireland.

1984 - The IRA attempts to assassinate Margaret Thatcher in her hotel in Brighton. Several killed and injured by a bomb blast, but the prime minister escapes unhurt.

1987 - Thatcher re-elected with a slightly reduced majority.

1988 - Flight Pan Am 103 explodes in mid-air over Scotland and plunges onto the town of Lockerbie. All 259 people on board as well as a further 11 on the ground are killed.

1990 - Thatcher resigns as prime minister after she fails to defeat a challenge to her leadership of the Conservative party. John Major becomes prime minister.

1991 - UK takes part in US-led military campaign to liberate Kuwait from Iraqi occupation.

1992 - John Major re-elected as prime minister. Labour party chooses John Smith as its leader.

1993 - Downing Street declaration on northern Ireland - a peace proposal issued jointly with the Irish government.

1994 - John Smith dies. Tony Blair becomes Labour leader.

1996 - Government announces that BSE, or 'mad cow disease', can be transmitted to humans. Crisis for beef industry follows, with mass slaughtering of animals, collapse of markets and export bans. Many beef farmers face financial ruin.

1997 May - Labour under Blair wins landslide election victory.

1997 August - Diana, Princess of Wales, is killed in a car crash in Paris.

1997 September - Referendums in Scotland and Wales back the creation of separate assemblies in Edinburgh and Cardiff.

1998 - Good Friday Agreement on a political settlement for Northern Ireland is approved by voters in the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland.

1999 - UK forces take part in the air war with Yugoslavia and the consequent multinational force in Kosovo.

1999 - Scottish parliament and Welsh assembly inaugurated.

2000 - UK forces intervene in Sierra Leone to protect and evacuate foreign citizens caught up in the civil war. They subsequently stay on to help train the government army.

2001 - Libyan intelligence agent Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi is found guilty of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing and sentenced at a court in the Netherlands to life in prison which he will serve in Scotland. His co-accused is found not guilty.

2001 April - Blair postpones country-wide municipal elections due in May as an outbreak of foot and mouth disease amongst cattle, sheep and pigs continues to spread.

2001 June - Blair's Labour party wins a second successive general election victory.

2001 September/November - Following September 11 attacks on targets in the US, PM Tony Blair offers strong support for US-led campaign against international terrorism. British forces take part in air strikes on targets in Afghanistan.

2003 March - UK joins US-led military campaign against Iraq after UN-based diplomatic efforts to ensure Baghdad has no weapons of mass destruction are perceived to have failed.

2003 August - Prime minister, defence secretary, government officials and aides, BBC managers and journalists testify at Hutton inquiry into death of government scientist at centre of row over claims government embellished case for Iraq war.

2004 January - Lord Hutton delivers findings from inquiry into death of government scientist. His report exonerates government, heavily criticises BBC.

2004 October - Iraq Survey Group concludes that Iraq did not possess weapons of mass destruction in run-up to US-led invasion. Tony Blair acknowledges flaws in pre-war intelligence but stands by case for war.

2005 March - Controversial anti-terrorism bill passed after marathon debate, which includes longest-ever sitting of House of Lords. Bill provides for control orders for suspects, including placing them under what is effectively house arrest.

2005 May - Labour Party's Tony Blair wins a third successive term, albeit with a much-reduced majority in parliament.

2005 7 July - 52 people are killed and around 700 are injured in four suicide bomb attacks on London's transport network. Two weeks later, would-be bombers fail to detonate four devices on London's transport network.

2005 28 July - Irish Republican Army (IRA) announces a formal end to its armed campaign.

2005 November - Tony Blair suffers his first House of Commons defeat as prime minister when MPs vote against increasing from 14 to 90 days the length of time terror suspects can be held without charge. Instead, they back increasing it to 28 days.

2006 August - Police say they have thwarted an alleged plot to bring down as many as 10 planes travelling from the UK to the US.

2006 November - Former Russian security service officer Aleksandr Litvinenko, an outspoken critic of the Kremlin living in exile in London, dies there after being poisoned by a radioactive substance.

2007 February - Tony Blair announces the first large-scale withdrawal of British troops from Iraq.

2007 May - Leaders of Northern Ireland Assembly sworn in, ending five years of direct rule from London.

Pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP) becomes the largest party in the Scottish Parliament following elections.

2007 June - Gordon Brown succeeds Tony Blair as premier.

2007 July - Diplomatic row between London and Moscow over Britain's bid for the extradition of Andrei Lugovoi, an ex-KGB agent accused of Mr Litvinenko's murder.

2008 February - The government nationalises the troubled mortgage lender Northern Rock. Funding problems at the bank in the second half of 2007 triggered the first run on a British bank in more than a century.

2008 May - Ruling Labour Party suffers its worst local election results in 40 years. In the contest for Mayor of London it loses to the candidate of the main opposition Conservative party, Boris Johnson.

2008 July - Church of England votes by 2-1 majority to allow the ordination of women bishops.

Financial crisis hits

2008 October - The government part-nationalises three leading UK banks with a 37 billion pound rescue package. It also pumps billions into the UK financial system after record stock market falls precipitated by the global "credit crunch".

2008 December - The FTSE 100 ends closes down by 31.3% since the beginning of 2008, the biggest annual fall in the 24 years since the index was started.

2009 January - The Bank of England cuts interests rates to 1.5%, the lowest level in its 315-year history.

The government announces a second package of measures to help Britain's ailing banks, amid surging unemployment and deepening economic gloom.

2009 May - Furore erupts over MPs' expenses when details about what they have been claiming are leaked to a national newspaper.

2009 June - European election: Governing Labour Party slumps to its lowest share of the vote - 15.7% - since World War II, and is beaten into third place. The main opposition Conservative Party comes first with 27.7%.

House of Commons Speaker Michael Martin stands down after widespread criticism for his reaction to the MPs' expenses scandal.

2009 November - Britain withdraws bulk of its remaining troops in southern Iraq, leaving only a small force tasked with training the Iraqi military.

Iraq inquiry chaired by former civil servant Sir John Chilcot opens. Its stated aim is to "learn the lessons" of the Iraq conflict.

The UK economy comes out of recession, after figures show it grew by 0.1% in the last quarter of 2009, following six consecutive quarters of economic contraction - the longest such period since quarterly figures were first recorded in 1955.

2010 February - A full list of repayments MPs have been asked to make following the expenses scandal is published in a report from auditor Sir Thomas Legg.

2010 May - General election: Conservative Party wins most seats but fails to gain an absolute majority. Conservative leader David Cameron becomes PM at the head of a coalition with the third-placed Liberal Democrats.

2010 October - Coalition announces large-scale public spending cuts aimed at reducing UK's budget deficit, with an average 19% four-year cut in budgets of government departments.

2010 November - UK concludes military and nuclear accord with France. Under the terms of the new treaty, the two countries will cooperate in testing nuclear warheads.

2011 March - Britain plays a prominent part in the international intervention in the conflict in Libya.

2011 April - Prince William, eldest son of the Prince of Wales and second in line to the throne, and Kate Middleton marry in a ceremony watched by millions around the world. They receive the titles of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

2011 May - British voters in a referendum reject plans to replace the first-past-the-post electoral system for the House of Commons with the alternative vote (AV) system. The change was a key aim for the Liberal Democrats, the junior party in the governing coalition, but strongly opposed by Prime Minister Cameron.

2011 July - One of the UK's biggest-selling newspapers, the News of the World, closes following revelations that journalists at the paper had hacked the phones of hundreds of public figures and ordinary members of the public. Prime Minister Cameron's director of communications, a former editor at the weekly tabloid, resigns and is later arrested in connection with the scandal.

2011 August - The killing of a 29-year old man by police sparks widespread riots and looting in poorer areas of London, as well as in several other English cities. Insurers estimate the cost of the damage at more than £200m.

2011 December - Prime Minister David Cameron blocks proposed changes to the EU's Lisbon Treaty aimed at addressing the crisis in the eurozone, over threats to the independence of the City of London as a financial centre.

2012 April - The UK economy shrank by 0.2% between January and April, partly because of a large fall in the construction industry. As the second consecutive quarter of negative growth, it marks Britain's return to recession.

2001 - 2002

FedEx begins operations in Finland, Sweden and Denmark.

FedEx begins operations in Norway.

The launch of a direct flight from Cologne to Memphis increases freight capacities from Europe to the US by 20%.

FedEx Corp. acquires ANC, a domestic express company in the United Kingdom. The company, now rebranded as FedEx Express UK, enables FedEx to serve the entire UK domestic market and is run as a wholly owned subsidiary of FedEx Express Europe.

FedEx Express acquires the Hungarian express company Flying Cargo Hungary Kft.

FedEx Express and Modec Electric Vans launch 10 new innovative battery powered vehicles for use across three FedEx Express London depots reducing FedEx carbon footprint by 90 tons of carbon per year.

FedEx Express also launches 10 hybrid Iveco electric commercial vehicles in Milan and Turin, Italy.

FedEx Express finalises a major expansion project at the Roissy-Charles de Gaulle hub, making it the second largest hub after Memphis (US).

FedEx Express introduces FedEx International Economy ® service for less time-sensitive shipments from more than 90 countries/territories around the globe.

FedEx Express opens a new, state-of-the-art hub at the Cologne/Bonn airport becoming the company’s new Central and Eastern European gateway and FedEx largest solar-powered hub worldwide.

FedEx Express launches an important new connection between Asia and Europe, with a direct roundtrip flight operating five days a week between Hong Kong and Paris – the first provider to offer a next-business-day service from Hong Kong to Europe.

FedEx Cares Week, a coordinated volunteer effort, begins in Europe. Since its US inception in 2005, the initiative has expanded to more than 40 countries/territories.

FedEx Express strengthens its commitment to the environment by opening a state-of-theart, eco-sustainable distribution centre in Machelen, Belgium.

FedEx Express launches new green delivery initiative in France by introducing seven electronically assisted tricycles for package deliveries and collections in three separate districts in Paris.

FedEx Express opens a new station in Belfast and launches a new daily flight offering next-day service to Europe and the East Coast of the US, as well as a two-business-day service to Asia and the rest of the US.

Other industries in the UK

Other significant industries in the UK include Oil and gas. In 2009, the country was producing about 1.5 million barrels of oil per day at the same time, and the country was consuming about 1.5 million barrels of oil per day. In the recent past, there has been a decline in the production of oil in the country, and as from 2005, the country has been an importer of oil. In 2010 the country had proven reserves of oil of about 3.1 billion barrels, which were the largest of any EU member country at the time. In 2009 the country was ranked as the world’s 10th largest producer of natural gas. Production of natural gas is also on the decline, and the country is presently importing natural gas since 2004. Mining is another industry in the country, and one of the most significant minerals is coal. The production of coal was about 19.7 million tons as of 2009, and at the same time, the country consumed 60.2 million tons. The proven coal reserves in 2005 were estimated at 171 million tons. Other minerals in the UK include limestone, tin, iron ore, clay, salt, silica, lead, and gypsum.

The government of the United Kingdom is not founded off a constitution like many other governments are, but has instead evolved over time.

The British parliament is split into two houses, an upper and a lower house. The lower house, the House of Commons, consists of 1,000 seats. Every 5 years a General Election is held in which the electorates of the UK vote by means of a modified version of MMP (Mixed-Member Proportional representation) to elect MPs to represent them in parliament, in which a party gains a percentage of seats in parliament proportional to that of the percentage of the vote they earned.

The new home of the House of Commons.

Since 1987, when the UK was federalised and the colonies gained equal status, the overseas regions of the UK have also been entitled to vote. This raised the amount of seats in parliament from 650 to 850 and led to the House of Commons moving to a refitted Battersea Power Station as the new seat of government.

The Upper House of Parliament is the House of Senators, since the abolition of the House of Lords in 1987 and its replacement with a democratically elected body of 250 seats. Every state of the UK elects 5 Senators during the General Election, except for 5 highly-populated states (such as Greater Nigeria) which elect 10 Senators.

Will growth return in 2021?

According to the most recent forecasts, the UK economy is expected to grow by four percent in 2021, with an even stronger growth rate of 7.3 percent anticipated in 2022. These forecasts are obviously dependent on the UK being able to emerge from the Coronavirus pandemic in the near future, and return to some degree of normality. As of early 2021, there are some signals this could be the case, with the UK having one of the world's most successful vaccination programs. The UK economy also reported a modest monthly growth figure of 0.4 percent in February 2021, indicating the economy is gradually recovering.

Watch the video: The Economy of The United Kingdom (August 2022).